Johny Hendricks believes he beat GSP

Last night’s UFC event was certainly controversial. Johny Hendricks bloodied up Georges St. Pierre in their welterweight division fight and certainly believes that he beat him as you can see from the interview above. Dana White was furious with the decision and is looking to quickly book a rematch.

Like it or not, Griffin and Bonnar belong in UFC Hall of Fame

Image ALT text goes here.Lost in the madness of another UFC PPV weekend was Forrest Griffin announcing his retirement from MMA.

Griffin hadn’t fought in over 10 months and was battling injuries. Given that he wasn’t much of a contender in the light heavyweight division, he decided to call it a career.

What was even more lost in all the news was Dana White telling the media after UF 160 that the UFC will be inducting Griffin and Stephan Bonnar into the UFC Hall of Fame together, later this year.

To me, this is a no-brainer. To others, they think either Bonnar, or both, don’t deserve the honor.

Griffin has a strong case in his own right. He was the first winner of The Ultimate Fighter reality series and went on to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. His record, 19-7, isn’t awful and he had a number of memorable fights.

Bonnar is another story. His record was just 15-8 and he lacked a victory against an elite-level opponent during his career. Essentially if you are going to put Bonnar in based on his win-loss record, you would also have to include fighters like Shane Carwin, Frank Trigg and Joe Stevenson.

But, this induction isn’t about overall bodies of work. This induction is about one thing and one thing only, their war in the initial Ultimate Fighter Finale.

That bout was the first time the UFC aired live fighting on Spike TV and its importance cannot be understated.

It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but it was two men fighting with every ounce of energy they had for 15 minutes. It was everything Dana White and the UFC management wanted to showcase about its sport.

That three-round war, that classic did more for the UFC than any other fight in its history. That fight, along with the enormous audience it drew as it played out, set the stage for the UFC to branch out nationally and has been the foundation for The Ultimate Fighter to continue its operation to this day.

The UFC Hall of Fame wouldn’t be relevant if it weren’t for that fight.

Sometimes a singular moment transcends a sport and those involved are elevated forever in the eyes of the fans and management. This fight is representative of that and Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar should be in the Hall of Fame for this season. You can’t talk about the greatness of the UFC without bringing up that fight.

An interview with UFC President Dana White

nullAs I mentioned yesterday, I had the chance to do an interview with UFC President Dana White on Tuesday afternoon to discuss this week’s UFC on FOX 7 event.

You can read the entire interview, which was done for Bullz-Eye.com, here.

Below are a few excerpts from the interview:

One of the things I was really excited about with this deal with FOX was being able to bring big fights back to free television. That has always been my goal since we bought this company. Coming off “The Ultimate Fighter” finale last weekend, every fight was sick, it was an amazing finale. We pulled 1.7 million viewers. We were the highest-rated thing on network and cable television with males 18-34. This fight on FOX is going to be a big one. Ben Henderson is defending his lightweight title again, this time against Gilbert Melendez, who is probably the toughest guy at 155 pounds that has never had a shot in the UFC. Everybody thinks this guy might be the best in the world, so we are going to find out on Saturday.

I have been thrilled with the Strikeforce fighters. A lot of bad stuff happened at Strikeforce. A lot of guys didn’t get paid for a while and these guys are hungry. First of all, they are happy to be back fighting and getting paid to do it. These guys want to prove to the world that they can fight and become the best in the world. The UFC is the place to do that. These guys have been fighting like maniacs, and I love it.

UFC President Dana White sounds off on Boston Marathon attack

nullUFC President Dana White is a busy man, but he is passionate about the things he cares about.

With the UFC set to hold its seventh event on FOX this Saturday (its third of four events in April alone), I had the chance to speak with him for an interview for Bullz-Eye.com.

The interview will come out later this week, but I wanted to post White’s thoughts on what happened on Monday at the Boston Marathon. White previously lived in Boston and is a known supporter of the Boston pro-sports teams.

“It really bummed me out because when the city that you lived in gets attacked like that….you know, you think about when I lived there, we used to watch the race all the time, we would walk up and down Newbury Street. It was just a disgustingly, cowardly act. It makes me sick. To attack a race like that, where people have trained to run this thing from all over the world and their friends and family are waiting at the finish line for them, it’s just so (expletive) cowardly that it makes me sick. The one thing about the city of Boston and the United States as a whole, it’s one of those things where people will all come together, just like 9/11, and the city will bounce back. It’s just unfortunate that….not to mention that it’s the most popular marathon in the world and the oldest marathon in this country, to just do something like that is just….ugh. I can’t even put it into words without going crazy and sounding like an absolute psycho.”

I will post the rest of the interview with White later in the week.

Women’s MMA is stealing the show in the UFC

nullDana White once stated that he’d never have a women’s bout in the octagon that is the UFC.

White didn’t feel there was a market there.

Not only is there a market in women’s MMA, but the market is rising at a very fast pace.

Ronda Rousey put the women on the map in the UFC with her win over Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157 in February. Though the fight went just one round, it was exciting from start to finish and featured great grappling and striking.

On Saturday, in the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 17, the UFC held its second women’s bout, with Miesha Tate taking on Cat Zingano.

These two bantamweights put on an even better show than Rousey and Carmouche did, going nearly 15 minutes before Zingano finished Tate with an impressive flurry of knees and elbows.

The crowd was electric for the fight, knowing the winner would face Rousey next and get a spot coaching against Rousey in The Ultimate Fighter Season 18. The two battled it out on the feet and on the ground for the entire duration of the fight. Each showed tremendous skills and a determination to win.

When the fight ended, it felt like the fans and viewers had just witnessed the main event. It is clear that the fans appreciate a good fight, and the women have been giving the fans great fights.

White isn’t stupid either. He is trying to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the women’s bantamweight division by having Rousey and Zingano coach TUF next season. With Rousey already pulling in over 400,000 pay-per-view buys, and Zingano stealing the show Saturday night, there is a lot of evidence that the UFC should look to expand its women’s crop to more divisions.

The women have showed an aggression that has been lacking in some of the marquee men’s fights as of late. The fans always want to see two fighters leave it all in the cage, and the women are doing exactly that.

I personally am excited to see upcoming women’s bouts because the bar has been set very high by Rousey and Zingano.

UFC marketing magic

The UFC has become a marketing machine. Here’s an interesting article from Fast Company that addresses this topic in depth.

On the afternoon before one of the biggest mixed-martial-arts fights of 2012, a group of Ultimate Fighting Championship employees takes up position in a sun-blasted parking lot outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. It’s July in Las Vegas. It’s 103 degrees of unpleasant. And it’s about to get worse–because UFC president Dana White just tweeted their location. White is giving away 20 $1,200 tickets to this weekend’s UFC 148 (most fight cards are named by number), headlined by a rematch between Brazilian middleweight champion Anderson Silva and his American nemesis, Chael Sonnen. Any fan who shows up within 20 minutes with a can of UFC-branded Edge shave gel will be entered into a ticket raffle.

It takes less than 10 seconds for Isiah and Dominique Quintanilla, teenage brothers from Visalia, California, to materialize from the back stairs with cans. “Some guy offered us $66 for one,” Isiah says. UFC fans, it seems, had cleaned out drugstores on the Las Vegas Strip.

Minutes later, a horde bursts from the casino–mostly men in the UFC’s coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic, but women, too, in a dead sprint. They stampede toward the UFC team, grooming products in hand. Some hurdle a chain in the parking lot. One woman tries to scale a fence and bloodies her knee. In the fight business, these fans are known as hardcores. They buy the UFC’s pay-per-view shows, which blend wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and other combat styles into an action-packed, often-bloody sport known as mixed-martial arts, or MMA. They buy apparel and merchandise. Above all, they buy into a UFC lifestyle that celebrates everyone’s inner warrior.

Check out the entire article.

UFC cancels UFC 151, conveniently puts all blame on Jon Jones

nullIn case you have been under a rock today, UFC 151 has been cancelled.

The short story is Dan Henderson injured his knee and couldn’t fight next Saturday, prompting the UFC to offer Jon Jones a replacement opponent of Chael Sonnen. Jones, after speaking with his team, declined to take the fight on such short notice.

So, the UFC, instead of finding a new main event, or just running with the card they setup sans the main event, decided to just axe the event altogether.

In the process, they completely threw the light heavyweight champion under the bus.

Normally, I am on Dana White’s side of things. He is a hot head, no doubt, but he usually tells it like it is.

However, blaming Jones for the canceling of an event is simply a convenient way to take the blame off of himself and the UFC.

First off, canceling an entire UFC event is a big deal. It impacts the fighters, the venue, the host city and those that would be working the event.

Many fighters rely on a small paycheck from fighting on the under card simply to make ends meet. Due to the UFC’s venom spewed at Jones, many of those fighters are now taking their anger and frustration out on the champion as well.

But, let’s all take a deep breath and take into consideration two things:

Read the rest of this entry »

Dana White interview

Dana White discusses UFC marketing strategies and a possible event in Hawaii.

Belfort injured, Wanderlei Silva to face Cung Le at UFC 139

nullJust a few weeks after Vitor Belfort announced he would be taking on Cung Le at UFC 139, he has now had to announce he will not be fighting after all.

According to MMAFighting.com, Belfort suffered an injury that will force him out of the fight. But, the UFC was quick to find a replacement, as Wanderlei Silva will step in to take on Le at UFC 139.

Wanderlei Silva will make his return to the Octagon on November 19 in San Jose, when he takes on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le at UFC 139.

UFC President Dana White announced today that Vitor Belfort had to pull out of his fight with Le because of an injury, and as a result Silva will step in and take it.

Belfort vs. Le had the makings of a great fight because of the speed and quickness both have in their striking.

However, Le vs. Silva should be just as good, if not better, because Silva is relentless and is willing to be knocked out in order to put on a show. Belfort is more hesitant in his striking. With Silva now in, expect fireworks and an explosive knockout when he and Cung Le face off.

Diaz removed for UFC 137 main event, GSP vs. Condit on

nullI see your Nate Marquardt and raise you a Nick Diaz.

In one of the most bizarre situations in UFC history, Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz has been removed from the main event of UFC 137 against UFC champ, Georges St. Pierre, after going AWOL on the company and skipping two press conferences in two days.

After missing three different flights to head to Toronto for a press conference to promote UFC 137 on Tuesday, Diaz stopped communicating with Dana White and the UFC and was nowhere to be found on Wednesday, for another press conference to promote the event in Las Vegas.

White announced at the beginning of the presser that Diaz was removed from the fight and co-main eventer, Carlos Condit, will take on GSP for the title.

Diaz’ trainer, Cesar Gracie, expressed his frustration with his own fighter to MMAJunkie.com.

“I don’t blame Dana White on this at all,” Gracie today told MMAjunkie.com  ”This is a professional company, and Nick is a 28-year-old man.”

“I’ve stuck up for Nick, even when he was wrong before,” Gracie said. “But he’s let a lot of people down. He’s let his team down. We all bought plane tickets to Vegas. We got hotel rooms booked, paid for. We’ve got all that, and Nick just decided not to go to something he’s supposed to. They’re paying him a lot of money, and in this economy where people don’t have money, he’s blessed. He should be thanking God every night how blessed he is.

“And instead, he’s not getting on a plane to go to Vegas. I’m extremely disappointed. He’s done a lot of stuff, but this is the worst of it. If I were him, I would be begging Dana White to get my job back and work your way up to a title shot at some point.”

“I’m not a psychologist,” he said. “I personally think there’s some kind of social anxiety happening here with Nick. Dana said, ‘You’ve got to play the game this much.’ And this isn’t even playing the game. This is about being a man and being responsible. And Nick has done neither in this situation.

“He’s a great jiu-jitsu guy. He’s a great fighter. I’m saying this because I care deeply about the guy. He’s one of my black belts. But in this situation, he is 100 percent wrong, and he got what he deserved.”

There are so many side stories to this happening, but clearly the main one is the odd behavior of Diaz. I sincerely hope he is of good physical and mental health, but he has a lot of explaining to do.

He has certainly blown the greatest opportunity of his pro career and may never step foot inside a Zuffa cage or octagon again.

Carlos Condit may be a tougher opponent for St. Pierre, but we will break down that fight another time.

Also lost in the mix is that B.J. Penn is now without an opponent, as he was set to face Condit at UFC 137 in the co-main event.